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Roundtable: Grading the Lakers’ 2017 NBA Draft picks

How did Los Angeles do?

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers had a busy draft night, taking Lonzo Ball out of UCLA second overall before shifting their attention to later in the procession. The team used the No. 27 pick they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets to select Kyle Kuzma before flipping the No. 28 pick for picks No. 30 and 42, where they selected Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant, respectively.

So how did the team do? We turned to our staff of writers for their thoughts.

What grade do you give the Lakers' pick of Lonzo Ball?

Chinmay Vaidya: This is an A+ pick. Ball is absolutely what the Lakers need with D'Angelo Russell heading out of town. He is the perfect fit for Luke Walton's high-paced offensive system and will make those around him better. On top of all the positives on the court, apparently his family is tight with Zeus and Jesus. Can't go wrong there.

Sabreena Merchant: (A) Lonzo was my favorite player in this draft, and fills an immediate need for the Lakers, regardless of how the team arrived at that situation. He's easy to slot in around a variety of players, fits the style of play that Luke Walton and Magic Johnson envision, and is just a ton of fun to watch. He was the clear choice at No. 2.

Drew Garrison: The Lakers get an A for drafting Lonzo. There was really no other way for the team to go after trading D'Angelo Russell, and Lonzo would have been an A even if D'Lo was still on the roster

Ben Rosales: (A) Ball was the prohibitive favorite from the start here and he's the selection that they ultimately made. That makes a certain amount of sense, even if D'Angelo Russell is no longer around to pair with him in the backcourt.

Ball creates an entirely new paradigm with the Lakers as a dynamic playmaker in transition who needs to improve in the halfcourt, but had ridiculous numbers altogether in college as he ignited UCLA's offense and turned around what had been an otherwise moribund college program.

The Lakers still need another creator in order to maximize him and you would hope that that's forthcoming in free agency, but the moniker of "culture changer" is well-deserved. One hopes that he is worthy of the immense hope that the Lakers franchise has invested into him, and we'll see whether he is fairly soon.

What grade do you give the Lakers’ pick of Kyle Kuzma?

Chinmay: I'm going to have to grade this as N/A because I cannot fairly evaluate a guy who I haven't seen play. I had the same reaction to the Kuzma selection as when the Lakers drafted Larry Nance Jr., so that could be a positive. Kuzma put up decent numbers at Utah, but I can't speak about his skill set enough to give him a grade.

Drew: Unfortunately this is the one pick that's bizarre, though it may make sense later down the road if they lose some power forward depth. I'd give the Lakers a D+ for this pick, not because Kuzma is a terrible prospect, but the fit is very questionable with a loaded frontcourt already struggling with floor spacing.

Ben: (C) Kuzma was a semi-okay trade in a vacuum for a skilled four man who can move and shoot decently, but his production was uneven at Utah and he's a mono-positional four at the deepest spot on the Lakers' roster, at which Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Luol Deng, and Brandon Ingram will all demand time. This would seem to imply that that the Lakers are moving someone fairly soon at the spot, whether in a Paul George trade or otherwise, although at the moment, it's an awkward fit altogether. With Derrick White going off the board right afterward, it's especially unfortunate.

What grade do you give the Lakers' trade for No. 30 and No. 42?

Chinmay: I'll give this a B+. This is a relatively deep draft and there's plenty of players available in the later stages who could contribute immediately. The Lakers don't sacrifice any "can't miss" prospect while netting another asset. Good move.

Sabreena: (B) The total value of picks 30 and 42 is better than the value of the 20th pick, so it works from a statistical perspective, but I'd have rather taken Semi Ojeleye or Jordan Bell at 28 than moved down in the draft.

Drew: I'd give the Lakers a solid B for this. There's little harm that came from it, and ultimately it gave them another dice roll on a prospect. The picks they selected after trading down made it a good move.

Ben: (A) This was definitely a solid idea in a vacuum, the most unfortunate thing in reality being that the team lost out on a chance on Derrick White. Moving down two spots and picking up an early-to-mid first is certainly the type of value proposition that you want to make in a draft in which there is significant talented hovering around the first round bubble.

What grade do you give the Lakers’ selection of Josh Hart?

Chinmay: This is a B, mostly because Semi Ojeleye was still on the board and I wanted the Lakers to draft him. Still, Josh Hart is a national champion and has plenty of basketball experience. He's a good scorer, decent defender and will fit well with Ball. Didn't necessarily want him, but I’ll gladly take him.

Sabreena: (B-) Don't think Josh Hart will be anything more than a backup guard in the league, but hey, he's already the best shooting guard on the Laker roster, for whatever that's worth.

Drew: I love the idea of Hart, but we'll have to see if it translates. He could be an ideal three-and-D fit at shooting guard, and the Lakers desperately need both in their backcourt. For pick No. 30, this is an A-, especially if they end up trading a certain shooting guard they've been floating in Paul George trade packages.

Ben: (B+) The best word to describe Hart is "solid." He has been an all-rounder in nearly every respect during his college career, being a capable scorer, rebounder, ballhandler, and defender, his senior year statistics elevating him even further as one of the best college players in the country.

Hart will probably will have trouble as a creator in the pros and in checking multiple positions, but he fits the mold of a role player who will stick in the NBA for a decade. I would have preferred Jawun Evans here with a lead guard option a need with Russell gone and Ball leading the show, although I can't be too mad about Hart.

What grade do you give the Lakers’ selection of Thomas Bryant?

Chinmay: I'd give this pick a C. Thomas Bryant is a solid low post player who can rebound and block shots, but will he get in the rotation? Hard to see him going past Ivica Zubac or Tarik Black. Bryant, at the very least, will be an energy guy who can provide JaVale McGee-type recklessness when needed.

Sabreena: (N/A) The Lakers have a glut of bigs already on the roster, and I've never seen Thomas Bryant play. I'd prefer a guy with more athleticism that deep in the draft. I don't think he'll make it past the South Bay Lakers.

Drew: Bryant is a fantastic big man to take a flier on. He already has legitimate NBA size at 19 and has potential to be solid on both ends of the floor. If he can really find his perimeter game, the Lakers may have finally found themselves the stretch big they've been looking for in the past several drafts. Another B+ with a deep draft pick.

Ben: (A-) At this point in the draft, you chase upside and Bryant offers that between his 7'6'' wingspan and the shooting he might have at the five. Brook Lopez brings a stark reminder that shooting at the five is exceptionally valuable in the modern NBA, especially when it is accompanied by rim protection and Bryant at least brings the potential to do so. He had poor feet as a college player and his awareness needs to massively improve at both ends, but as a likely G-League guy for most of the season, there are few developmental guys better at this point than Bryant.

What grade would you give the Lakers’ draft overall? Vote, and less us know your reasons in the comments below:


What grade would you give the Lakers draft?

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